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April 29, 2024 30 mins

Rori and Emilia engage in an enlightening conversation with the remarkable Dr. Maria

Elena Zavala, a pioneering plant developmental biologist, and the first Latina to receive

a PhD from UC Berkeley's botany department. Dr. Zavala shares insights into her early

fascination with plants, and navigates through her educational and professional path,

revealing the challenges and triumphs of being a woman of color in science. Dr. Zavala

also delves into her impactful work in mentoring and amplifying the participation of

underrepresented groups in STEM fields, which has earned her prestigious awards and

recognition. Her story highlights the crucial role of mentorship and representation in

fostering diversity within the scientific community.


EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

00:37 Celebrating Dr. Maria Elena Zavala's Trailblazing Journey in Science

06:07 The Power of Curiosity: Choosing Science Over Tradition

13:38 Mentoring and Making a Difference: Learning from Life and Academia

16:11 Navigating Academic Challenges: From UC Berkeley to Indiana

16:51 Transition to Yale: Pursuing Pollen Longevity and Roots

18:19 Choosing CSUN: A Decision Driven by Student Potential

26:50 The Power of Mentoring: Shaping Futures Beyond the Lab

29:09 Revise and Resubmit: Reflecting on a Career Without Regrets


CREDITS: This episode is produced and edited by Maribel Quezada Smith. Sound

Engineering by Keagan Stromberg. Production Coordinator, Marissa Alcantar. A

Diferente Creative Production.

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